Mar 14, 2023
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Trove resale report points to huge growth potential, but sector remains a work-in-progress

Mar 14, 2023

Resale specialist Trove launched an inaugural special report on Tuesday. Called Brand Resale Index: Defining The Resale Experience, it claims to be the first report of its kind to dive deep into the market and evaluate leading practice adoption at an “inflection point” for resale.

Findings include resale not being quite a sustainable as it would like to be, but the potential to become more green being there; and brands not integrating pre-owned product with new often enough.

The Index’s aim is to be an annual benchmark of the industry’s progress towards brand resale with in-depth performance assessments of 40 leading brand resale programs, covering fashion/apparel, outdoor, footwear, and luxury.

The company worked with OSF Digital on the research and founder Andy Ruben said that “re-commerce today is what e-commerce was two decades ago: a more customer-centric retail model where customers satisfy their ever-increasing expectations for greater value, experience, and sustainability. We are currently at a major inflection point for branded resale, where early development is meeting commerce evolution.”

He added that global resale is worth $100 billion today, is growing at five times the rate of retail, and is expected to represent 23% of all retail in 2030. In fact, it should double to $250 billion by 2027.

And he believes that “just like in the 2000s, brands have an unmatched opportunity to emerge as winners. Now, with 120+ brands with dedicated resale channels, it’s no longer a matter of ‘if’ but ‘how’.”

So what exactly does the Index do and say? It assesses brands on 147 criteria across brand positioning, commerce, and trade-in experiences, with a general consideration of how the resale business model potentially contributes to environmental sustainability benefits.

Interestingly, while many people still think of resale largely as being all about luxury handbags and the report comes to the conclusion that “luxury brands have wide-open opportunities to evolve their story through branded resale”, it also said that “outdoor brands emerged as the most mature in the index”. 

Trove said “outdoor brands are well positioned for success in the resale space since there is a natural alignment between the resale mission and customer values, the durability of products, and higher-priced items”.

That said, fashion/apparel and footwear are the resale categories that have grown the most over the past year, with the latter “standing out for overcoming the open-box challenge for footwear brands”.

The report also calls out the leaders in resale with REI top overall (on a score of 72%), Arc’teryx leading in outdoor (68%), Amour Vert in fashion/apparel (66%), running brand On in footwear (59%), and Philip Lim in luxury (53%).

Other findings include the fact that this may be resale rather than new products, but “presentation and ease of use matters: the ways that brands present secondhand items to their customers and integrate this experience with existing commerce channels will ultimately determine friction within the purchasing journey”.

The report also said it found that “few brands fully integrate new and pre-owned into one shopping experience, with only 25% of brands allow[ing] customers to combine purchases of new and pre-owned in the same cart”.

And brands that offer “seamless trade-in experiences help unlock the £2.1 trillion of idle branded items in customers’ closets, while building brand loyalty”. 

Important too is the fact that while “all 40 brands in the Index touted sustainability as a customer benefit, not all resale programs are good sustainability programs”. And Trove feels that “brand resale programs based primarily on new product purchase incentives are a risk for brands who want to tout sustainable claims”.

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